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Cuba, Lost and Found: A Poignant True Story of Life Before & After The Revolution

Edward Neyra’s true life story as told in ‘Cuba, Lost and Found,’ captures the reader’s heart and soul as if held captive by the revolution itself.  It touches the child within us all, who often feels abandoned and alone, and the consequences of such feelings later in life.  Mr. Neyra has the rare ability to tell his story with childlike simplicity and clarity as he tackles the complex emotional ramifications of being taken from his home and parents at the age of eleven.  As his story unfolds, the reader is gently educated on the history of Cuba, including Operation Pedro Pan, which, from December 1960 to October 1962, evacuated more than fourteen thousand Cuban youths to the United States, and was the largest recorded exodus of unaccompanied minors in the Western Hemisphere.

The book begins as Mr. Neyra’s describes his carefree life in Cuba as a child.  Being a member of a prominent family, Mr. Neyra was well-loved, cared for, and indulged by various family members.  This love and concern, however, is what also leads to the separation from his beloved family when they send him, his sister and cousin to the United States to avoid communist indoctrination.  He and his sister end up living with family friends in Cincinnati, where he excels in school, becomes a wealthy businessman, and raises a strong family of his own.

The most interesting parts of the story are the vivid descriptions of the places in Cuba where Mr. Neyra lived as a child as they were at the time of his childhood, and as they were when he returned on numerous trips beginning about 40 years later.  In an effort to regain the feeling of belonging he lost as a child, he traces his family lineage in Cuba and uncovers some surprises, and later finds he is the descendent of a King while exploring his ancestry in Spain.

Although his story of facing and overcoming childhood traumas is a common story, what makes his account so special is the unusual setting and clarity, humor, courage, and overall success of the character.  One cannot read ‘Cuba, Lost and Found’ without becoming more courageous, honest and hopeful about one’s life.  It may be a story about a boy who was forced to grow up too fast because of political instability, but it’s also about hope in the human condition.  His story reminds us that the small voice within us, often frightened and overlooked, is the voice that can ultimately heal us, allowing us to live fully and make our dreams come true.

 

 

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